Beginning on Monday our morning PUBLIC Mass will be at 6:30 a.m. It will still be taped and shown at 9:30 a.m.(The Final Mass of the School Year, at 8:15 a.m. on Wednesday will also be live-streamed.) PLEASE note the places that are “closed off,” e.g., every other pew. ALSO, PLEASE note the “social distancing” requirements that will be in place.
Yesterday all the priests received another communication about the resumption of Public Masses. There is also a video from Archbishop Carlson.
Here are the latest directives about the resumption of Public Masses. As this week goes on we will have the SPECIFICS about our Masses next weekend at 5:00 p.m. on Saturday and 9:30 a.m. on Sunday. If you HAVEN’T filled out the survey that was sent to you earlier this week, PLEASE do so as soon as possible. Thank you.
The Office of Communications and Planning has received questions regarding the guidelines for the return to public Mass and is now able to share the following from Archbishop Carlson:
- The guidelines are to be followed at least as the minimum required. There may be stricter rules in a parish for one reason or another such as the age of the priest celebrant, or due to the physical structure of the parish.
- A mask or face and nose covering by a scarf is mandatory to enter the church. A priest may determine for his parish whether masks will be used throughout the service. If a mask is required, a cantor or a reader may remove the mask to sing or read and then should put the mask back on. This is allowed if only proper social distancing requirements are followed.
- Following our discussions with other Church and State and local authorities, Communion may only be received in the hand at this time. We look forward to the time when we can resume offering Holy Communion on the tongue.
- We will distribute Holy Communion at the “normal time” during Mass here at Saint Monica. “Social Distancing” will still be required. PLEASE follow the directions of the ushers / volunteers during this time. As mentioned above, you may take your mask off.
- There can be no choirs at this time. Congregational singing is possible, but we ask that during the first week or two Mass should only be held with a cantor singing. When congressional singing is allowed, masks are highly recommended for the congregation throughout Mass.
- There should be no gatherings after Mass or on parish grounds that exceed more than ten people. Meetings with ten or less need to be abide by social distancing guidelines. (Most of the meetings here will continue to be virtual, with whatever medium the convener uses … there are at least three that have been used here during this time … not all “zoom”!)
- Funerals, Weddings, and First Communion can take place at the pastor’s discretion, but only within the frame work of the guidelines for Mass. (We will be doing that!)
- Occupancy limits are State and local guidelines. (Given the size of our Church it seems that our occupancy limit is 125. There will be more information this week about the weekend Masses. We will have Msgr. Schneider Hall available for you to watch the Mass if there are too many people for the main body of the Church.)
Please also continue to refer to archstl.org/coronavirus for the latest public-facing updates—including a condensed version of all directives for parishes—from the Archdiocese of St. Louis regarding COVID-19.
There are also going to be “posters” from the Archdiocese and the CDC in Church. The “poster” on pages 2 and 3 of this week’s Saint Louis Review is very good.
Please note this most critical and important statement from Archbishop Carlson: The dispensation of the obligation to attend Sunday Mass continues until further notice. Those who are at risk because of an underlying health issue or who are over 60 are strongly encouraged, for their own health, to avoid attending public celebrations of Mass and to participate in Mass via live-stream only. If you have been exposed to a person with COVID-19, and have not self-quarantined for fourteen days, PLEASE do not come to Mass. You have been dispensed.
This is a very difficult and trying time for all of us. Please may we continue to pray for an end to this and a return to a “somewhat normal” way of life.
Father Joe Weber and the Entire Parish Staff